Glendale Arts is standing by its mission of bringing the community together through the arts and entertainment, even at a time when restrictions mandated by this unprecedented moment in history have meant that the “together” element of the equation must be achieved virtually.
The nonprofit management company of the Alex Theatre is hosting an online celebration to honor the historic performing arts and entertainment center’s 95th birthday on Saturday, Sept. 5, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. to raise critical funds needed to preserve the Glendale landmark. The fundraiser will also ensure that the team of professionals who operate it are “able to continue providing programming and services to thousands of beneficiaries ranging from emerging artists and independent promoters to other local nonprofits and neighborhood businesses,” according to Glendale Arts CEO Elissa Glickman.
The Alex95 event will illustrate the wonder and promise of the theater’s past, present and future. A group of rotating hosts, including journalist Palmira Perez-Najarian; comedians Alonzo Bodden, Mary Basmadjian and Michael Rayner; and former KNBC weathercaster Fritz Coleman will guide viewers through the program, which will feature stories, reflections, interviews and performances.
The telethon will be livestreamed and telecast live on multiple platforms, including AlexTheatreBirthday.org, YouTube, Facebook, GTV6, Horizon Armenian TV and ARTN (Armenian Russian Television Network).
Glendale Arts board chair Phil Kubel shared his enthusiasm for the driving forces behind the new direction of this year’s annual birthday tradition.
“The Glendale Arts team has remained an active force throughout the last few months despite the unforeseen setbacks that have been unleashed on the entertainment and performing arts industries,” said Kubel. “Fueled by the unwavering commitment and passion of our board of directors and staff, and with the backing of our community, we have mobilized to undertake producing a reimagined fundraiser event that will honor our iconic theater’s 95th birthday. It is Glendale Arts’ responsibility to help heal the community in these challenging times by providing uplifting programming, and while we can’t meet in person, we look forward to engaging viewers as we turn on a virtual spotlight for the Alex95 celebration.”
The anchor of downtown Glendale’s Art & Entertainment District, the city of Glendale-owned Alex Theatre is one of the Southland’s most popular live performance and film and television location filming venues. The Alexander, as it was originally called, opened its doors in 1925 as a vaudeville house and movie palace. More than nine decades later, the 1,411-seat venue offers a wide range of programming and is home to six resident companies: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Ballet, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Musical Theatre Guild, Alex Film Society and Glendale Youth Orchestra.
In a nod to the theater’s rich history and in support of its long-term future, the event has garnered the participation of area elected officials, Congressman Adam Schiff, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Glendale Mayor Vrej Agajanian and Councilmembers Ara Najarian, Paula Devine, Ardy Kassakhian and Daniel Brotman, who make up the Alex95 Honorary Committee.
The benefit is being presented by Glendale Arts in partnership with StandardVision and major sponsors, including the Los Angeles County Department of Arts & Culture, Adventist Health Glendale, the Walt Disney Co., and the Greater Downtown Glendale Association.
Nina Crowe, managing director of Glendale Arts, echoed Kubel’s statements and touted the growing momentum during the event’s planning stages as inspiring.
“We knew we had to meet this moment in the Alex Theatre’s history by thinking big,” she said. “In turn, what we envisioned for our 95th birthday has been greeted with an equally big groundswell of support and involvement from a cross-section of businesses, entertainers, public officials and community members. We invite everyone to tune in on Sept. 5 to celebrate nearly a century of arts, entertainment, culture and community, and make history with us.”